Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Kokopelli Deal Closed This Morning

The Green Grass Group LLC closed on its long-suffering effort today to secure the Kokopelli golf course in Marion, one of the top-rated courses in the state.

Dutch Doelitzsch gave a Marion Chamber of Commerce a brief update at today's luncheon, telling the group the new ownership signed all the paperwork closing the deal this morning at 11:20 a.m. Yesterday they had met with club members and Kokopelli residents about their plans.

Kokopelli Golf Pro Jesse Barge outlined the new owners' plans for the course this afternoon. Changes will be made to the club house, grounds and some upcoming events.

  • The restaurant will re-open later this month under the name Koko's. After additional renovations are complete, the restaurant will be able to seat 300 for a wedding reception or other large gatherings.
  • The pro shop will move to the lower level just inside the current lobby area. This will allow all of the golfing operations on one level while creating more space for the restaurant above. In order to do this the grand staircase will be removed and a new ceiling/floor installed to create more dining area above.
  • The former pro shop area will become the new Koko's Sports Grill. The current bar which sits in the main dining space will be removed to the new sports grill.
  • A new parking lot will be built on the north side of the club house at the same level as the restaurant.

Course and Grounds
  • The remaining debris from last year's storms will be removed. Barge said last year they removed enough debris to make the course playable, but more needs to be done in order to help define the course in terms of margins and out-of-bounds.
  • Champions Drive which now ends in the current club house parking lot will be extended south to Halfway Road which now ends at the north edge of Rent One Park. This will allow direct access to the clubhouse from area hotels and the interstate.
  • A new 48-lot upscale housing development will be platted along the new extension which will also be calls Champions. These will be single-family homes and not condominiums. [Although he didn't mention it, many of these lots may face the lake that's on the north side of Rent One Park.]

In addition, Kokopelli will host the 2012 Men's Illinois State Amateur Championship in August of that year. Barge said it's the first time since 1995 that Southern Illinois has hosted the tournament when it was played at the Rend Lake Golf Course.

According to the Southern Illinoisan's early online coverage of this morning's news conference, roadwork will begin this fall.

...and will necessitate the shortening of Hole 15 by 78 to 150 yards and reducing par by a single stroke that will increase the course rating's difficulty.

For more on Barge, the Marion Daily did a nice profile on him in March.

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